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School testing to start in West Lothian

Asymptomatic testing will be available to all staff working in primary, secondary, special schools and S4-S6 secondary school pupils in West Lothian, after the February school holiday break (Thursday 18 February).

09 February
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Asymptomatic means without symptoms.

The Scotland wide programme is being put in place by the Scottish Government. Schools will contact all staff and senior phase pupils directly to inform them of arrangements for picking up their testing kits, and will provide consent forms.

Testing kits will be for pupils and staff who will be working or learning in school when the planned phased return begins, and including those who are currently attending schools.

The purpose of the programme is to contribute to the reduction of COVID-19 related risks, and in doing so enhance the confidence of our school communities. The programme is voluntary but school staff and secondary pupils are being strongly encouraged to participate, in order to contribute to the wellbeing of their school communities.

James Cameron, Head of Education for West Lothian Council said:

"The programme is designed to help identify asymptomatic individual in schools at the earliest possible opportunity and asking them and their close contacts to self-isolate, thus minimising the likelihood of them passing on the virus.

"Schools in West Lothian will be provided with packs of test kits and distribute them to consenting staff and pupils. Staff and pupils will then take the tests home and, twice weekly, perform the test on themselves. The results will then be register positive or negative results on a Scottish Government web based portal, with the results used by NSHS Test and Protect to inform close contacts of positive cases.

"The tests are only for individuals without symptoms. Those with symptoms should continue to follow the national guidance.

"The instructions for use will be provided on the kits."

David Dodds, Executive councillor for Education, added: "As the Scottish Government has said, the exceptional arrangements to close schools from January were put in place as a precautionary measure in light of the latest developments at the time. A range of previously published evidence has made clear that schools are not high-risk environments when the appropriate mitigations and safety measures outlined in the guidance are implemented, particularly within the younger year groups.  There is to date no evidence that in-school transmission is a significant driver of increasing infection levels.

"However I think this is a positive step and more testing, generally, is to be welcomed and that it will help to instil further confidence within the school community, particularly when we begin to see progress with a phased return of pupils."

Schools will provide staff and parents/pupils/carers with more details when these become available.

 

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